Can You Flip a Pillow Top Mattress? [Flipping a Mattress Tips & Tricks]

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Can I flip a pillow top mattress? Most people know you can – and maybe even should – flip a standard mattress, but what about one with a pillow top? Won’t flipping it ruin its little pillow pockets, or make the benefits of owning one in the first place obsolete?

Common sense says that the answer to this question is probably always no. But the real answer is “it depends”.

Some pillow top mattresses are double pillow tops, meaning that the same puffy texture is found on both sides. Those can usually be flipped. Most, however, have a non-slip coating (to help the mattress ‘grip’ the bed) and the padding is only added to one side. These mattresses should not be flipped, as not only will you flatten the pillow top if you smush it against your bed frame but sleeping on it would be extremely uncomfortable as well.

But is there anything else you can do to help extend the life of a pillow top mattress as flipping a mattress is designed to do? Read on to find out.


Why do people flip mattresses anyway?

The idea behind flipping a mattress is to prolong its useful life. If you occasionally change the side of the mattress you sleep on you will slow down the inevitable wear and tear that daily use inflicts on even the most expensive of mattress choices and eventually causes it to sag to the point that it becomes very uncomfortable, loses its supportive benefits and needs to be replaced.

Why do pillow top mattresses sag?

You may be wondering why a mattress you probably paid a lot of money for would sag in the first place.

The simple answer is that the materials use in the mattress’ construction age, and, as they do, their effectiveness fades. Most mattresses sag most in the very spot you sleep on, as that is the part that is getting the most use.

The rate at which a certain mattress will reach the end of its useful life (more on that in a moment) will vary, depending on the construction – the more robust the built-in center support the better – and on the nature and quality of the materials used. Will a more expensive mattress last longer than a bargain-basement choice? Not always, but you do, as a general rule of thumb, get what you pay for.

Can you flip a pillow top mattress and sleep on the other side?

Well, you can. But as we touched on earlier, if yours is not a double pillow top mattress – which is rare – sleeping on the ‘flat’ side of a pillow top mattress is likely to be a rather unpleasant experience. It is a lot like sleeping on a board, something that is not a comfortable, or even healthy, experience. If sleeping on a hard, flat, surface was pleasant and good for your body them mattresses would not have been invented in the first place!

Should I rotate my pillow top mattress?

If you can’t flip your pillow-top mattress, because the cushy, supportive stuff is only featured on one side of it, then experts do recommend occasionally rotating it instead. While doing so will not be quite as effective in extending its useful life as flipping it would be rotating your pillow top mattress occasionally is almost certainly going to be better for it than doing nothing at all.

How often should you flip a pillow top mattress?

If you do have a double pillow top mattress, and can safely flip it, doing so every six months is the standard expert recommendation. And that is not bad. You can simply make a mental note (or better still an entry on your calendar) to flip your mattress when you change out your warm winter bedding for the cooler summer stuff, or, if you change bedding a lot more than that, when you change the batteries in your smoke alarms (which you should do every six months without fail.)

If you can’t flip, and are going to try rotating your mattress instead, you can follow the same schedule.

There is something else you can do too though. Even though you already have a pillow top mattress the addition of a plush pillow top mattress topper acts just like adding a second pillow top, and that, instead of the mattress, can be flipped every six months instead. And as the topper absorbs a lot of the pressure you put on it as you sleep your mattress itself may gain several years in terms of its useful life.

There are other good reasons to consider making the investment in a superior quality plush pillow top mattress topper, even if you have just bought a brand-new mattress. Often these are even more supportive, and more comfortable, than the mattress itself, which is a boon for those who tend to need more support to avoid waking up with knee, back or neck pain.

Marine Moon Mattress Topper Queen, Cooling Pillow Top Mattress Topper, Extra Thick Plush Mattress Pad Cover, Overfilled with 7D Down Alternative, Relief Back Pain, Soften Hard Mattress, 80'' x 60''

While there are lots of options out there, this Marine Moon topper from Amazon is a great choice. In addition to being nice and supportive, it’s also designed to offer additional cooling and its cover can be machine washed, making it easier to ensure you get a fresh and clean night’s sleep as well as a comfortable one! It’s available in several different sizes too, so you should find the right fit for your bed.

Click here to see this on Amazon »

How to extend the life of a pillow top mattress?

One of the most effective ways to extend the life of your pillow top mattress is to make use of a pillow top mattress topper, as we just described. But as a mattress ages, even that might not be enough anymore, especially as they do flatten slightly with use themselves.

In this case an older mattress that could use a little extra help may benefit from the addition of a pillow top mattress protector. These are thicker – often up to 4-6″ – ‘covers’ that will restore that comfy cloud feeling your mattress originally had – or maybe never had if it is a traditional flat topped mattress – and provide you with extra pressure point relief and cooling.

ViscoSoft 4 Inch Pillow Top Memory Foam Mattress Topper Queen - Serene Lux Dual Layer Mattress Pad

Again, there are lots of these out there, like this cooling mattress pad from ViscoSoft– but do make sure you choose the right size for your mattress, to avoid ending up with an awkward fit that shifts as you sleep.

Check price on Amazon »

Believe it or not, keeping your mattress clean extends its useful life as well. Vacuuming away all the little bits of dust and debris that can accumulate over time helps minimize little dents and scratches and will keep it a lot fresher – and thus a lot nicer to sleep on – as well.

How to fix a sagging pillow top mattress?


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Eventually your pillow top mattress will begin to sag. And a sagging mattress will lead to tossing and turning, back pains and unwanted pressure points. But if you do not want to shell out money in buying a new pillowtop mattress, a mattress helper will fix your sagging pillow top mattress.

Mattress Helper Under Mattress Support - Fix Your Sagging Mattress Firmer Solution for Mattresses - Twin- Single Side Coverage (King)

This Mattress Helper on Amazon is an inexpensive solution to restoring support and comfort of your sagging mattress and will make your bed look perky and plush, instead of lumpy and worn-out.

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How often should you replace your pillow top mattress?

No mattress lasts forever, however expensive and whatever you do to try to extend its useful life. If you check, you will see that most sleep experts offer a vague ‘7-10 years’ as an answer to this question. But what makes that three-year difference?

Air foam mattress from Nolah

Choosing a mattress that makes use of memory foam helps – and if you like coils and springs hybrid mattresses feature both – as memory foam tends to be more durable and remains supportive longer. An ‘air foam’ mattress like this one from Nolah Sleep may be an even better choice as it is made from an advanced foam that offers superior cooling as well.

Click here to see the mattress on Nolah »

If you are trying to delay replacing an older pillow top mattress for a little longer, pillow top mattress protectors can be one way to do so – or a pillow top mattress topper if you want to spend a little less.

Flipping or rotating the mattress – whichever is appropriate for your bed – may help too, but ideally these are practices to make use of right from the start if you want to get the most out of them.

The fact is though that every pillow top mattress eventually needs to be retired. When they sag and even a topper can’t help restore their original supportive comfort, it really is time they were replaced.

Obviously, a mattress will not self-destruct at the ten-year mark, and, in theory, you could use the same one for 15, 20 or even 25 years. But doing so will almost certainly lead to increased aches and pains, a distinct lack of ‘freshness’ and an all-around uncomfortable night’s sleep.